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Reduce drag and Save Watts : Aero Testing

April 19, 2017

With the goal of finding every little bit of free speed, last week Cam offered our Crew the privilege of working with Alex Bauer from Lexxi AeroSmartSuits. One of the preeminent Aero testers in the world with an impressive resume including big names like Rapha for Team Sky / SRAM Canyon ladies team / Tony Martin among others.


This Blog forms part 3 in my series on Bike Fit which covers my journey from no fit to pro fit.  The other two blogs can be found here (Part 1 Basic Bike Fit) and here (Fine Tuning).


What is the purpose of aero testing?


It is impossible to quantify your aerodynamic drag, or know how equipment or positional changes affect it, without testing it in a controlled manner. Drag forces acting against you while cycling because of air are very large. 


Therefore a quick way to improve performance is to decrease drag. In order to make the correct decisions on position and equipment you need to measure it. Aero testing is a process by which real-time drag data is used to optimise your cycling position, equipment, clothing, riding style, or combinations of all three to increase your speed.


What happens during the test?


Testing is conducted in the controlled environment of an enclosed velodrome. We used the new Anna Meares Velodrome in Brisbane. A sensor was attached to the bike together with a power meter. Alex then took some other measurements and then we were away. 


Each time we tested I was responsible for warming up for a couple of laps and then increasing to a steady speed around 40km per hour for at least 8 laps. A baseline was established for testing the drag of our current position and race equipment. This allowed us to understand and compare power directly with what we would produce in a race. 


Changes to equipment such as helmets, bottle positions, hand position, suits, wheels and fit were then able to be compared to the baseline. Alex used his experience to suggest the best changes to equipment and position. Alex then provided a report that I can keep as a record. 


What are the results of my testing?


The testing is very specific to the individual and without giving away everything that works for me, some of my changes included:


Fit: Was pretty good but need to get my head a little lower

Helmet: Short Tail Rudy 57 over Boost 01

Wheels: Sweet

Suit: Sleeved over No Sleeves 


See you folks in Cairns with some Free Speed. Thanks Alex and Cam for organising. 





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